Between the financial crisis, sexting, and the Gulf oil spill, it may seem like the world has been going to pieces in recent years. But that’s only because you’re a pessimistic jerk who’s looking at everything all wrong. For the globe as a whole, the last decade has actually been a time of previously-unknown prosperity, health, and peace. Foreign Policy explains:
Consider that in 1990, roughly half the global population lived on less than $1 a day; by 2007, the proportion had shrunk to 28 percent — and it will be lower still by the close of 2010. That’s because, though the financial crisis briefly stalled progress on income growth, it was just a hiccup in the decade’s relentless GDP climb. Indeed, average worldwide incomes are at their highest levels ever, at roughly $10,600 a year — and have risen by as much as a quarter since 2000.
Even the wars of the last 10 years, tragic as they have been, are minor compared with the violence and destruction of decades and centuries past. The number of armed conflicts — and their death toll — has continued to fall since the end of the Cold War. Worldwide, combat casualties fell 40 percent from 2000 to 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, some 46,000 people died in battle in 2000. By 2008, that number had dropped to 6,000. Military expenditures as a percentage of global GDP are about half of their 1990 level.